Cocaine Seizure a Drop in the Bucket

I suppose a $3 million seizure of cocaine at the Port of Baltimore is newsworthy. I guess I just feel that someone need to provide some context. The article itself makes this seizure seem like a great victory in the drug war. Not even close.

The 310 pounds of cocaine found in a container downtown is drop in the bucket, a grain of coca in the nose of Baltimore's hipsters. From The White House's own drug enforcement page:

Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, which is indigenous to the Andean highlands of South America.24 It is estimated that the amount of pure cocaine that could have been produced in the Andean region increased from 640 metric tons in 2004 to 780 metric tons in 2005.


During FY 2003, Federal agencies seized 245,499 pounds of cocaine under the Federal-wide Drug Seizure System (FDSS). FDSS contains information about drug seizures made within the jurisdiction of the United States by the DEA, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Border Patrol, and U.S. Coast Guard.

Seizures like this are good things, and they do reduce, though minimally, the amounts of illegal drugs on our streets. But they don't affect the bottom line of drug importers, or disrupt the domestic drug trade in any way.

It makes me wonder why this story is being reported in such an uncritical way. Its freedom from context, in my opinion, makes it more of a propaganda press release from State police in support of their misguided drug war.

It would be like reporting on a story of police preventing one murder in Baltimore, without mentioning the 79 that have not been prevented this year. The seizure of $3 million of cocaine is enough to draw readers' attention, its just a shame that nothing is done with that attention in the story beyond further cementing support for a failing policy.


A Sad Day

My heart goes out to all of those affected by the tragedy in Virginia today. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.